Friday, January 29, 2010

Not Following Procedures

Technically, this isn't really about adult readers advisory, but I had to bring it up anyway. I just read an article on Yahoo! from the Washington Post that the Culpeper County public school officials have decided that the schools will stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary called: The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition (a version that was published on the 50th anniversary of Frank's death). The school library will still have the older version available to students and will also be used in classes. The newer version was removed due to a parent's complaint that the book included "sexually explicit material" and "homosexual themes."

According to James Allen, the director of instruction for the school system, there is a policy in place for such complaints. When this happens, the complaints are "submitted in writing and for a review committee to research the materials and deliberate." Allen claims that this policy was not followed in the case of this book. Instead, "the parent registered the complaint orally, no review committee was created and a decision was made quickly by at least one school administrator."

The ALA has weighed in on this story. Angela Maycock, assistant director of the office for intellectual freedom, was quoted as saying that the "hasty decisions to restrict access to some books does a disservice to students."

Again, this doesn't directly involve adult readers advisory. More than anything, I wanted to blog about it because it really concerned me. There are policies and procedures for a reason. Even though there are other versions of the book available, what this school system did is censorship is in direct violation of ALA's Freedom to Read statement. The administrators removed something without following the system's own procedures.

In a sense, this harkens back to something that we talked about in class last night about how our culture seems to be eliminating experts from just about everything. Instead of going through with the written policy of having a committee look over the challenged material, one or more administrators apparently felt that he/she/they knew better than anyone else and removed the item. Despite the fact that the school system's policy is to rely on "experts," those in charge ignored that and only listened to the parent.

Now, I am not angry with the parent. He or she was merely concerned about the material his or her child was reading. I am frustrated by the fact that standard procedures were ignored. I'm sure that this isn't the first time that this has happened in the history of libraries, but it still burns me up.

Anyone else want to chime in on this?

Chandler, M.A. (2010). "School system in Va. won't teach version of Anne Frank book." The
Washington Post.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Introducing Myself

Hello! My name is Lauren McPike and this is my final semester in the SLIS program! I started the program in the summer of 2008 and it's been a wild and crazy, but also fun and worthwhile two years.

I am currently working on the north side of Indianapolis as an admin at an executive suite of offices. What that means is that my company has an entire suite of offices and rents out the individual offices to different companies and I provide the receptionist/secretarial/administrative/technical support for all of them. At this time, I currently serve around 40 different companies and my work day is always an adventure. I can't say that I enjoy my job, but it does allow me to go to school without taking out student loans. So, in that respect, I am glad to have my job.

I am very excited for this course as I love to read, but I have a very strong tendency to only stay within certain genres and I need to expand my horizons. In fact, I've found that I mostly read non-fiction books and am not well-verse in fiction at all. I really love to read books about history and film studies. I do love mysteries, though, and am a huge Agatha Christie fan. Since I want to work in a public library, and particularly with retirees, I think I'm in deperate need of this class.

Just this month I started volunteering at Zionsville's Hussey-Mayfield Public Library to gain some experience working in a library. All of the librarians have been wonderful and have really taken an interest in helping me develop practical skills at the reference desk and with collection displays. As I get more comfortable, they are going to have me work with them on some of their projects, events, and classes as well. So, I'm really eager for that.

Between work, school, and volunteering, I don't have a whole lot of free time. In what little free time I do have, I work out, though I'm not a health nut, and watch movies. I am a movie nut. Just this last weekend I spent an hour organizing my movie collection and walked away thinking about all of the movies that I still don't own. I love movies from all genres, but my favorite is horror. Just this past weekend I had a little horror movie mini-marathon ranging from classics, such as Alien, to so-bad-they're-good ones, such as TerrorVision. I also have started doing a little freelance writing about movies for a friend's online magazine. He doesn't pay me for my essays, but I don't really care because I just do it for fun. Perhaps I'll end up at a library that will let me do some things with its film collection.

That's me in a nutshell. I look forward to meeting everyone face-to-face in class!